Refusing a chemical test is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you are pulled over in Colorado. In addition to facing steep penalties, drivers who fail to provide a breath sample are often perceived as guilty by judges, attorneys, and law enforcement officials. Moreover, non-compliant drivers may also be compromising their DUI cases before it has even begun. Below is a look at six things that can happen if you refuse a breathalyzer in Colorado and the key to securing a favorable outcome in your DUI case.
Is it mandatory for drivers to take a breathalyzer or a blood test in Colorado?
“Not all suspects agree to take the BAC test…Under implied consent laws, drivers have the right to refuse a lawful request by a law enforcement officer, though such a refusal may result in the suspension or revocation of their driver license.” – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
As a driver in Colorado, you have the right to refuse a breathalyzer. However, the overwhelming majority of drivers provide a breath sample upon request. In many cases, drivers who are longtime residents of the Centennial State are aware of the serious penalties they may face if they choose to refuse a breathalyzer or blood test. They also realize that failure to comply with a chemical test can be used as evidence in court and may also be used as evidence that could hurt their case.
What can happen if you refuse a breathalyzer or a blood test in Colorado?
If you are pulled over in Colorado and refuse to provide a breath or blood sample, you are opening the door for a variety of unpleasant consequences. Some of these penalties may be invoked within seconds of your refusal to take the test. Here are a few of the consequences of refusing to take a breathalyzer test:
- Your license will be suspended for a year. This will occur automatically as soon as you refuse the chemical test.
- You will be labeled a “persistent drunk driver” (PDD). Not only is this label embarrassing, but it can also impact your ability to secure employment.
- You must complete an alcohol and drug treatment program. Successful program completion is required before you can legally drive again.
- You must install an ignition interlock device in your car. This device measures your BAC and allows you to start your car only after you comply.
- You will face increased insurance costs. Additionally, you will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance even if you not guilty of DUI.
In addition to negatively impacting your driving record and disrupting your daily driving routine, your refusal to take a breathalyzer will be treated as evidence of your guilt. For many people, it is very difficult to fully escape these harmful labels once they are applied to an individual driver.
How does a preliminary breath test differ from a breathalyzer administered after arrest?
Before diving into what can happen if you decline a breathalyzer, it is helpful to understand the differences between a preliminary breath test and a breathalyzer administered after arrest. A preliminary test is usually run a few minutes after a law enforcement official pulls a driver over. It involves the use of a small handheld breathalyzer that is fully portable and designed to give a fast result.
Tests administered after arrest are typically more sophisticated and offer higher degrees of accuracy. It occurs in a more controlled location such as a jail in order to obtain the most accurate results possible.
What is express consent and how does it relate to DUI in Colorado?
“Under the principle of express consent, every driver has consented to a blood, breath, urine, and saliva test when stopped by a law enforcement official on suspicion of DUI or DWAI. Refusal to take a chemical test is admissible in court and a basis for a separate charge which can lead to revocation of your driver’s license.” – LawInfo
By securing a driver’s license and hitting the roads, all Colorado drivers have consented to have their breath, blood, urine, and saliva tested by law enforcement officials. This testing typically occurs when a police officer or other official suspects a driver of DUI or DWAI. The automatic consent is commonly known as express consent.
What should you do if you are pulled over for DUI in Colorado?
Having a simple plan to follow is one of the best ways to pave the way for a smooth DUI case and a favorable outcome. By following these three steps, you can demonstrate compliance with law enforcement officials and get a head start preparing for your DUI case.
- First, comply with the instructions given to you by law enforcement officials.
- Second, make sure you take the breathalyzer and field sobriety test.
- Third, contact an experienced DUI lawyer right away.
By following these simple steps, you will help put yourself on the fast track to a successful case. Most importantly, you will show your willingness to comply with law enforcement officials. Efficiency and a proactive approach can be difference makers as your case progresses. Finally, remember to take action right away by calling a DUI attorney. The faster you seek guidance from an experienced lawyer, the faster you can secure desirable results in your DUI case.